Travel Tuesday: Amex Centurion Hong Kong Lounge Review
Even though I’ve been an American Express Platinum cardmember since 2019, prior to last month, I had only been to three Centurion Lounge locations: LAS (multiple times), PHL, and CLT. That’s partially because my travel took a bit of a dip soon after gaining my card (for obvious reasons) and also because my Delta loyalty usually means that a visit to the Sky Club makes more sense. However, I recently had a chance to check another Centurion Lounge location off of my list as my wife and I visited the lounge at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG).
Given the fact that this international Centurion Lounge is a bit unique, I thought it was worth taking a closer look at the location and sharing some of my thoughts.
American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong Review
Navigating to the lounge
The secured area of the Hong Kong International Airport is pretty wild. It always blows my mind just how many different levels and means of transportation there are. The gate numbering can also be intimidating when you see signs for “Gates 501-530” (there aren’t actually 500+ gates but, given the number of escalators you may take, you might happen to believe there could be). All of this is to say that getting to the Centurion Lounge at HKG as well as making it to your gate afterward may require some time. Luckily, however, neither step of the process took as long as I had feared.
Hong Kong’s Centurion Lounge is located in Terminal 1 on Level 7 near Gate 60. Following signs from where we entered the terminal, we were directed to take the People Mover. Once we exited, it was pretty easy to find signs for the lounge area. From the main floor, you do go up one level and will likely pass some other lounges (including a Chase Sapphire Lounge) on your way to the Centurion. In all, it was probably less than 15 minutes from where we were in the terminal to the lounge — so definitely not too bad.
Incidentally, while we assumed that we’d take the People Mover back to our gate, it turns out that wasn’t actually necessary. Instead, we could walk down the admittedly long hallway of gates to catch our Korean Air flight. Again, it took maybe 10 to 15 minutes to get there from the Centurion. With that said, if you do have a flight departing from the 200 or 500 gates, you’ll likely want to give yourself a bit more time to get over there.
Hours and entry
Considering that our flight to Incheon was scheduled to depart at 12:45 a.m., I was excited to see that HKG’s Centurion Lounge was open until midnight. Meanwhile, those with earlier flights will be glad to know that the location also opens at 7 a.m. In our experience of staying until (near) closing time, the staff did a great job at first informing us that last call for food and beverages would be at 11:30 p.m. as well as then coming around and reminding guests of this deadline as it was approaching.
As for entry, American Express Platinum cardmembers are welcome — but, as a reminder, guests are no longer complimentary unless cardholders spend at least $75,000 a year on their card. While I don’t meet that threshold, my wife is an authorized user on the account, so we were both able to gain access.
Akin to other Centurion locations, cardmembers can generate an entry pass within the Amex app. However, when I first presented this at the front desk, they instead asked to start with my boarding pass and my passport. They also made sure my wife did have her own Platinum card (along with her passport and boarding pass). With that formality out of the way, we were welcomed in.
Layout and design
Even though I’d seen a couple of photos of this lounge location before, I was still a bit surprised once I entered. That’s because, rather than being a closed-off area, the whole space felt quite open. This is best demonstrated in this photo I found on the Centurion site that shows how the majority of the lounge can be fully seen from across the way:
I didn’t dislike this layout… but it was definitely different. At certain times, I could also see it being a bit louder than other locations since the sounds of the terminal can easily work their way in. Yet, perhaps because it was late at night, this was hardly an issue during our visit.
The other aspect that surprised me about the HKG lounge was the size. According to a press release from 2017, the location is around 8,000 square feet. Compare that to the 15,000-square-foot JFK location or the upcoming 26,000-square-foot lounge at ATL and, yeah, it’s not exactly huge. Nevertheless — likely thanks again to our timing — we had no problem finding a comfortable spot to set up.
Beyond the main seating area (which did include a few different seating style options), there was also a meeting room. No one was in this room when we were there and I don’t know if there are policies for requesting to use it, but it looked pretty nice.
Food and beverage
Like any good airport lounge, the HKG Centurion features a full-service bar as well as a number of food selections. In terms of the latter, we noticed both Eastern and Western-centric options — and some that could really go either way, such as fried vegetable dumplings. Even though we arrived at the lounge around 11 p.m., there was still hot food available alongside cold drinks (and, come to think of it, warm drinks as well).
My wife had a chance to try two of the lounge’s specialty cocktails. First up was the Gin Basil Collins, which features Botanist Gin, Kimono Yuzu Soda, lemon juice, and simple syrup. The other drink she got to taste was the Blue Door, consisting of Johnny Walker Black, Myer’s Dark Rum, Benedictine, and lemon juice. I should note that, while she was enjoying that beverage, I abruptly told her we needed to leave as an issue with our digital boarding passes sent me into a panic. Hopefully that didn’t color her review too much.
In a first, I’m now going to turn the keyboard over to her to share her food and beverage experience:
The Gin Basil Collins was unique, refreshing, and the perfect treat before another multi-hour flight. I could taste all of the components but nothing was overpowering.
The Blue Door was very interesting and the anise-flavored liqueur was pronounced. It wasn’t the “magic” cocktail I was hoping for but it is something I’d revisit again. Of the two, I’d return to the Collins first.
Compared to some other lounges, the buffet initially seemed limited, but considering the size of the lounge, it more than met guest needs. I always appreciate that the lounges offer hot food that’s actually hot (I had chicken and rice), and fresh selections like fruit (yay, pineapple) and vegetables. This lounge had a few finger food selections at the bar (a first in my experience) including tuna salad in mini tart shells, sliced cheese, crackers, nuts, dried fruit and honeycomb! I didn’t indulge in the honeycomb but found it fascinating that it was offered that way. Per our usual tradition, we split a brownie and also enjoyed a cup of tea, feeling very grateful that even across the world there were desserts that suited my very American palate.
So, there you have it. Personally, I’m not big on eating or drinking much before flights, but as my wife mentioned, it was nice to share a cup of tea and a sweet treat. I also enjoyed the few small bites of food I stole from her plate. Overall, if you’re hungry or thirsty, I’m fairly confident you’ll find something to enjoy at this lounge location.
Beyond the food, drink, and generally relaxing atmosphere, the HKG Centurion has at least one other amenity to offer: a shower. While I’ve taken advantage of shower facilities at Delta Sky Clubs, I’ve never used one at a Centurion Lounge… and the Hong Kong location is no exception. Having only noticed the shower while on my way to the restroom, I didn’t inquire about procedures for requesting the facility. But, if you do need to make use of this option, I’m sure the friendly staff at the lounge can help you out.
Final Thoughts on the Amex Centurion Lounge Hong Kong
Technically, there are plenty of lounges at Hong Kong International Airport that I should be able to access with my Priority Pass. But, when it came down to where I wanted to spend my pre-departure time at the airport, I knew I wanted something relatively familiar. That’s what the airport’s Amex Centurion Lounge offered for the most part — yet the experience was unlike other locations I’ve had the chance to visit.
The HKG Centurion’s open feel and relatively small size do make it a bit of an anomaly as lounges continue to grow larger and larger. Despite this, the lounge still proves to be a great place to grab a drink, a bite, or even a shower before your flight. What’s more, all of the staff we interacted with were top-notch.
Ultimately, while the American Express Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong may not go down as one of my favorites once I’ve had the opportunity to check out more of them, I still think it’s a solid option for Platinum cardholders visiting HKG. And, if it proves to not be your cup of tea, then there are other lounges nearby that you can try instead.